Archive for July, 2004

July 21, 2004

The Soldier as Spitoon, Redux

On the other side of the post-Vietnam spitting argument comes the following email. Again presented without comment:

I enjoy your cartoons and columns and visit your Web site regularly to read them.

Your latest column, “Boycott the Military,” was particularly interesting. Among my circle of male friends and relatives, we are nearly all veterans of the Vietnam era, most of us with in-country duty and quite a few with combat experience. I have never heard one of them say they were spit on, yelled at or otherwise reviled when they returned to this country. That this myth and others persist is a testament to the right wing’s skill with propaganda.

I hope young people, especially the poor, will boycott the military during Bush’s war. As far as I can tell, the children of the wealthy are doing a good job of boycotting. The stories I read of the dead and maimed all seem to involve the lower economic classes of our country.

Anyway, stay on Bush’s case, and the Republicans, and the weak-kneed Democrats that are fearful of stepping too far left.

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July 21, 2004

The Soldier as Spitoon, Redux

On the other side of the post-Vietnam spitting argument comes the following email. Again presented without comment:

I enjoy your cartoons and columns and visit your Web site regularly to read them.

Your latest column, “Boycott the Military,” was particularly interesting. Among my circle of male friends and relatives, we are nearly all veterans of the Vietnam era, most of us with in-country duty and quite a few with combat experience. I have never heard one of them say they were spit on, yelled at or otherwise reviled when they returned to this country. That this myth and others persist is a testament to the right wing’s skill with propaganda.

I hope young people, especially the poor, will boycott the military during Bush’s war. As far as I can tell, the children of the wealthy are doing a good job of boycotting. The stories I read of the dead and maimed all seem to involve the lower economic classes of our country.

Anyway, stay on Bush’s case, and the Republicans, and the weak-kneed Democrats that are fearful of stepping too far left.

July 20, 2004

Even More Death Threat Phone Fun!

Just got another call from the death threat fascist. Same guy, new number. This time this right-wing resident of Palo Alto, California warned me that I had better “stop drawing those cartoons and writing those columns,” told me that “my face is going to be rearranged” and, that timeless classic, “we know where you are, you fuck.”

His new phone number is (650) 868-8365 and the name on his voice mail is Ron Erickson.

July 20, 2004

Even More Death Threat Phone Fun!

Just got another call from the death threat fascist. Same guy, new number. This time this right-wing resident of Palo Alto, California warned me that I had better “stop drawing those cartoons and writing those columns,” told me that “my face is going to be rearranged” and, that timeless classic, “we know where you are, you fuck.”

His new phone number is (650) 868-8365 and the name on his voice mail is Ron Erickson.

July 14, 2004

The Soldier as Spittoon

In this week’s column I quote an expert who says that there are no documented cases of Vietnam vets being spat upon when they came home to the United States. I received several replies from vets taking issue with that claim. Few were credible, some were, but the standout for what I think are obvious reasons was the following. Without comment, here it is.

I read you column semi-religiously, as an wonton agnostic should. I usually agree with you on theory, but this time I have to add to your details.

While not the returning wounded Vietnam veteran, I do have a spit story.

I was attending the State University of New York Maritime College in

1965-1969. On my first trip into NY City as a cadet, I was wearing my brand

new dress uniform. It was a Merchant Marine cadet uniform, dress blues, and

I was pretty uncomfortable in a new costume, but very proud of the fact that

I had it on. Being a freshman in college, and it being 1965, I really did

not come to a personal conclusion about Vietnam, but I was not anxious to go

there, nor would I have volunteered. My college position deferred me from

the draft, and I was going to graduate as a Merchant Marine officer which

would have deferred me as well.

I got off the subway at Lexington and 42nd Street and was walking to Times

Square. I was walking tall trying to support the look of the new uniform.

An rumpled old lady walking the other way was mostly looking at the ground.

As she came close she looked up and without any visible thought process at

all she hacked up the largest loogie you can imagine and hawked it right on

my lapel. As you can imagine, my 18 year old psyche was devastated. I

found some old newspaper to wipe it off, but I never again wore that uniform

without a though about her. That might have been good.

After graduating, in 1969, my first two assignments turned out to be in

Vietnam. The first 8 months out of school I was transporting Korean troops

from Pusan to Vietnam and taking 1 year vets home. (the group going home

was always smaller and much quieter) Following that I got a ship that

wasn’t supposed to be going there but ended up going to Vietnam forever. We

shuttled containers from Cam Rhan Bay to Saigon, Qui Nhon and Da Nang, back

and forth. The ship was shot at several times and hit once.

I went there dubious of our need to be involved, and while there fell in

love with the beauty of the country, and its people. I read and studied its

history and politics, and when I left after being there for about a year and

a half, I was no longer dubious. We were not there for the right reasons,

we were clearly not there for the Vietnamese and we were doing much more

harm than good. The body count kept rising, there was a big dent in the

number of baby boomers, but the sheer number of Vietnamese who were killed

was staggering.

My conclusion is that war has no winners. All losers, some worse than

others, the poor of both countries were devastated the most. Wealthy

Americans got deferments, or at worst, some post at Cubi in the Philippines

counting beer kegs at the O’Club. A very few ended up as officers away from

the fray, some like Kerry actually saw combat. Poor Americans were grunts,

and had a terrible rate of repatriation.

I am sure that we need a military, but wish we could take our lessons from

Switzerland. Train everyone, build fortifications at home, be ready to

defend, maybe even help police troubled areas so stability can be restored

but an offensive army is just that, offensive! Offensive to our values and

our Constitution and to the ideals of the founding fathers.

I wish I could thank that old lady!

July 14, 2004

The Soldier as Spittoon

In this week’s column I quote an expert who says that there are no documented cases of Vietnam vets being spat upon when they came home to the United States. I received several replies from vets taking issue with that claim. Few were credible, some were, but the standout for what I think are obvious reasons was the following. Without comment, here it is.

I read you column semi-religiously, as an wonton agnostic should. I usually agree with you on theory, but this time I have to add to your details.

While not the returning wounded Vietnam veteran, I do have a spit story.

I was attending the State University of New York Maritime College in

1965-1969. On my first trip into NY City as a cadet, I was wearing my brand

new dress uniform. It was a Merchant Marine cadet uniform, dress blues, and

I was pretty uncomfortable in a new costume, but very proud of the fact that

I had it on. Being a freshman in college, and it being 1965, I really did

not come to a personal conclusion about Vietnam, but I was not anxious to go

there, nor would I have volunteered. My college position deferred me from

the draft, and I was going to graduate as a Merchant Marine officer which

would have deferred me as well.

I got off the subway at Lexington and 42nd Street and was walking to Times

Square. I was walking tall trying to support the look of the new uniform.

An rumpled old lady walking the other way was mostly looking at the ground.

As she came close she looked up and without any visible thought process at

all she hacked up the largest loogie you can imagine and hawked it right on

my lapel. As you can imagine, my 18 year old psyche was devastated. I

found some old newspaper to wipe it off, but I never again wore that uniform

without a though about her. That might have been good.

After graduating, in 1969, my first two assignments turned out to be in

Vietnam. The first 8 months out of school I was transporting Korean troops

from Pusan to Vietnam and taking 1 year vets home. (the group going home

was always smaller and much quieter) Following that I got a ship that

wasn’t supposed to be going there but ended up going to Vietnam forever. We

shuttled containers from Cam Rhan Bay to Saigon, Qui Nhon and Da Nang, back

and forth. The ship was shot at several times and hit once.

I went there dubious of our need to be involved, and while there fell in

love with the beauty of the country, and its people. I read and studied its

history and politics, and when I left after being there for about a year and

a half, I was no longer dubious. We were not there for the right reasons,

we were clearly not there for the Vietnamese and we were doing much more

harm than good. The body count kept rising, there was a big dent in the

number of baby boomers, but the sheer number of Vietnamese who were killed

was staggering.

My conclusion is that war has no winners. All losers, some worse than

others, the poor of both countries were devastated the most. Wealthy

Americans got deferments, or at worst, some post at Cubi in the Philippines

counting beer kegs at the O’Club. A very few ended up as officers away from

the fray, some like Kerry actually saw combat. Poor Americans were grunts,

and had a terrible rate of repatriation.

I am sure that we need a military, but wish we could take our lessons from

Switzerland. Train everyone, build fortifications at home, be ready to

defend, maybe even help police troubled areas so stability can be restored

but an offensive army is just that, offensive! Offensive to our values and

our Constitution and to the ideals of the founding fathers.

I wish I could thank that old lady!

July 12, 2004

Air America Appearance

I’ll be on Air America’s “Unfiltered” on Wednesday morning, at about 10:30, to discuss right-wing pro-Iraq War types who are now backpedaling. If the left had been as wrong as the right has been on Iraq, we’d be losing our jobs right and left, totally discredited. But the right shrugs it off and moves right along. Why the double standard?

July 12, 2004

Air America Appearance

I’ll be on Air America’s “Unfiltered” on Wednesday morning, at about 10:30, to discuss right-wing pro-Iraq War types who are now backpedaling. If the left had been as wrong as the right has been on Iraq, we’d be losing our jobs right and left, totally discredited. But the right shrugs it off and moves right along. Why the double standard?

July 9, 2004

REPOST: Limited Offer: Signed Copies of WAKE UP, YOU’RE LIBERAL and GENERALISSIMO EL BUSHO

Yes, this offer remains in force! If you’ve emailed me already and haven’t heard back, my spam filter probably caught your stuff. Please try again. If you haven’t, now would be a good time to take advantage of this.

As long as they and I last–probably a month or two–you can buy your copies of my new books WAKE UP, YOU’RE LIBERAL: HOW WE CAN TAKE AMERICA BACK FROM THE RIGHT and GENERALISSIMO EL BUSHO: ESSAYS AND CARTOONS ON THE BUSH YEARS directly from me. And I’ll sign the books to whomever you want!

Here’s what you do:

1. Send an email to me at chet@rall.com letting me know: (a) your address, (b) which books you want, (c) how many of each you want, and (d) how you’d like them all signed. I’ll email you back; don’t do anything until you hear back from me.

2. Figure out your payment. WAKE UP is $15.95 a copy. Priority mail is $3.95 to anyplace in the United States, so send me $20 (money order or check) for EACH copy of WAKE UP you want. EL BUSHO is available in hardback and softback. EL BUSHO hardback is $19.95 each, so send me $24 for each EL BUSHO hardback. EL BUSHO paperback is $13.95 so send me $19 for each EL BUSHO paperback.

3. Send your payment to:

Ted Rall

P.O. Box 1134

New York NY 10027

4. Payments by cash or money order result in quick shipping, within a week. Checks must clear first, so that means more like 2-3 weeks.

5. EXTRA BONUS OFFER: For an extra $50, I’ll throw in a unique 7×10 sketch of whatever I feel like–a rough draft of a published cartoon, an EL BUSHO, whatever. I’ll even take a request–but won’t honor it unless I feel like it. I will only do this for people who buy at least two books. Price is $200 for all others.

6. I will post notice on the Rallblog when this offer expires.

July 9, 2004

REPOST: Limited Offer: Signed Copies of WAKE UP, YOU’RE LIBERAL and GENERALISSIMO EL BUSHO

Yes, this offer remains in force! If you’ve emailed me already and haven’t heard back, my spam filter probably caught your stuff. Please try again. If you haven’t, now would be a good time to take advantage of this.

As long as they and I last–probably a month or two–you can buy your copies of my new books WAKE UP, YOU’RE LIBERAL: HOW WE CAN TAKE AMERICA BACK FROM THE RIGHT and GENERALISSIMO EL BUSHO: ESSAYS AND CARTOONS ON THE BUSH YEARS directly from me. And I’ll sign the books to whomever you want!

Here’s what you do:

1. Send an email to me at chet@rall.com letting me know: (a) your address, (b) which books you want, (c) how many of each you want, and (d) how you’d like them all signed. I’ll email you back; don’t do anything until you hear back from me.

2. Figure out your payment. WAKE UP is $15.95 a copy. Priority mail is $3.95 to anyplace in the United States, so send me $20 (money order or check) for EACH copy of WAKE UP you want. EL BUSHO is available in hardback and softback. EL BUSHO hardback is $19.95 each, so send me $24 for each EL BUSHO hardback. EL BUSHO paperback is $13.95 so send me $19 for each EL BUSHO paperback.

3. Send your payment to:

Ted Rall

P.O. Box 1134

New York NY 10027

4. Payments by cash or money order result in quick shipping, within a week. Checks must clear first, so that means more like 2-3 weeks.

5. EXTRA BONUS OFFER: For an extra $50, I’ll throw in a unique 7×10 sketch of whatever I feel like–a rough draft of a published cartoon, an EL BUSHO, whatever. I’ll even take a request–but won’t honor it unless I feel like it. I will only do this for people who buy at least two books. Price is $200 for all others.

6. I will post notice on the Rallblog when this offer expires.